One lesson I’ve learned multiple times in my career is that when I say to myself “that’s too hard,” I need to do whatever “that” is now. Delaying acting on the hard decisions creates drama that yields inefficiency and friction in business.
Decisions such as: Putting off having that difficult conversation with an employee? Delaying adding the new service to ensure relevance in your business? Not learning a new way of doing things to ultimately save time? Avoiding doing your networking calls or emails to put your company on the right track. Shying away from firing someone who has demonstrated that, despite incredible performance in the past, she will obstruct the company’s future plans with their presence.
Been there, learned that it’s only harder on me, the team and the company when I put off the hard stuff and delay making the hard decisions. Now, when I hear myself say “ugh” I calendar the issue within the next 72 hours so I can address it with a clear head. This is one way I’ve interrupted my patterns to take the actions that will benefit the business faster.
And this sensibility and discipline is nothing that a business coach or an independent board should do for their clients or senior leadership teams for the organizations they serve.
Uber has been stacked with significant talent on its board and advisers, yet they’ve avoided making the hard decisions for a long time. Watching the company careen from crisis to crisis over the last several years with increasing speed to finally firing 20 people as a result of the harassment probe led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, removing key leader Emil Michael a few days later, announcing that CEO Travis Kalanik would take an indefinite leave of absence a couple days after that to finally removing the embattled CEO a week later, will be a classic business school case of the same lesson small business CEOS learn all the time. In my opinion, the arrogance of money and the pursuit of more money has clouded these star performers’ ability to act in the way they presumably knew they should.
It’s a Shakespearean tragedy ready to be cast.
I find it painful to watch, since I know I haven’t made some tough decisions fast enough in my career. I can only imagine the pain, anger, shame, disappointment, mortification, and acrimony that is flying around for all the people involved. Drama that didn’t have to happen had only those people who were in place to provide the discipline and guidance would have exercised their responsibilities when they first been confronted with the facts before them.